Subaru stunned enthusiasts today by announcing that the BRZ STi performance concept, shown last year at the New York International Auto Show, will be put into production virtually unchanged from the original concept.
Since its introduction, automotive journalists have called the BRZ underpowered. I disagree, but a boost in power would almost certainly boost sales as well. According to Good Car Bad Car, Subaru sold a mere 425 BRZs across the US this past February, less than half of what they sold when I bought mine in March 2014. It seems that everyone who wanted a BRZ in its original form already has one. The only way to sell more is to make a better, faster version.
That’s where the STi comes in. The WRX STi may be lagging behind the Focus RS in horsepower, but its 305hp powerplant under the hood of the BRZ is more than a 50% increase over the stock FA20's 200hp. And while we’re stealing parts from the WRX STi, let’s make the BRZ all wheel drive as well. The BRZ’s version of STI’s Driver Controlled Center Differential will include the WRX’s 41/59 front/rear torque split, but will have special programming to allow all of the power to be sent to the rear wheels alone. This is an obvious shot across the bow of the “Drift Mode” in the Ford Focus RS, and is bound to be more successful because the BRZ is already a popular, proven drift car.
Subaru also announced that they are returning to the World Rally Championship - not with the WRX, but with the BRZ STi. Though Toyota has tested their own GT86 based rally car, Subaru’s version will not compete directly against it since theirs is all wheel drive. Instead they will race at the top level, competing directly against Hyundai, Ford/M-Sport, and reigning champion Volkswagen.
I managed to get an exclusive test drive of the new BRZ STi. Check out the video see it in action and for more thoughts on this amazing car.
April Fool’s!!! :P
(Photo credits: AutoMotoTube.net, Car & Driver, TMG)